U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DISPATCH 
VOLUME 6, NUMBER 28, JULY 10, 1995 
PUBLISHED BY THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS 
 
ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE: 
1. U.S. Normalizes Diplomatic Relations With Vietnam--President Clinton, 
White House Fact Sheets   
2. A New Phase in U.S.-Vietnam Relations--Winston Lord 
3. Background Notes:  Vietnam 
 


ARTICLE 1: 
 
U.S. Normalizes Diplomatic Relations With Vietnam 
President Clinton, White House Fact Sheets 
 
President Clinton 
Statement released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, 
Washington, DC, July 11, 1995. 
 
Thank you very much. I welcome you all here: those of you who have been 
introduced and distinguished members of Congress and military leaders, 
veterans, others who are in the audience. 
 
Today, I am announcing the normalization of diplomatic relations with 
Vietnam. 
 
From the beginning of this Administration, any improvement in the 
relationship between America and Vietnam has depended upon making 
progress on the issue of Americans who were missing in action or held as 
prisoners of war. Last year, I lifted the trade embargo on Vietnam in 
response to their cooperation and to enhance our efforts to secure the 
remains of lost Americans and to determine the fate of those whose 
remains have not been found. 
 
It has worked. In 17 months, Hanoi has taken important steps to help us 
resolve many cases. Twenty-nine families have received the remains of 
their loved ones and at last have been able to give them a proper 
burial. Hanoi has delivered to us hundreds of pages of documents 
shedding light on what happened to Americans in Vietnam, and Hanoi has 
stepped up its cooperation with Laos, where many Americans were lost. 
 
We have reduced the number of so-called discrepancy cases--in which we 
have had reason to believe that Americans were still alive after they 
were lost--to 55. And we will continue to work to resolve more cases.  
 
Hundreds of dedicated men and women are working on all these cases, 
often under extreme hardship and real dangers in the mountains and 
jungles of Indochina. On behalf of all Americans, I want to thank them. 
And I want to pay a special tribute to Gen. John Vessey, who has worked 
so tirelessly on this issue for Presidents Reagan and Bush and for our 
Administration. He has made a great difference to a great many families 
and we as a nation are grateful for his dedication and for his service. 
Thank you, sir. 
 
I also want to thank the presi-dential delegation, led by Deputy 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Hershel Gober, Winston Lord, and James 
Wold, who have helped us to make so much progress on this issue. I am 
especially grateful to the leaders of the families and the veterans 
organizations who have worked with the delegation and maintained their 
extraordinary commitment to finding the answers we seek. 
 
Never before in the history of warfare has such an extensive effort been 
made to resolve the fate of soldiers who did not return. Let me 
emphasize, normalization of our relations with Vietnam is not the end of 
our effort. From the early days of this Administration, I have said to 
the families and veterans groups what I say again here: We will keep 
working until we get all the answers we can. Our strategy is working. 
Normalization of relations is the next appropriate step. With this new 
relationship, we will be able to make more progress. To that end, I will 
send another delegation to Vietnam this year, and Vietnam has pledged it 
will continue to help us find answers. We will hold them to that pledge. 
 
By helping to bring Vietnam into the community of nations, normalization 
also serves our interest in working for a free and peaceful Vietnam in a 
stable and peaceful Asia. We will begin to normalize our trade relations 
with Vietnam, whose economy is now liberalizing and integrating into the 
economy of the Asia-Pacific region. Our policy will be to implement the 
appropriate United States Government programs to develop trade with 
Vietnam consistent with U.S. law. 
 
As you know, many of these programs require certifications regarding 
human rights and labor rights before they can proceed. We have already 
begun discussing human rights issues with Vietnam, especially issues 
regarding religious freedom. Now we can expand and strengthen that 
dialogue. The Secretary of State will go to Vietnam in August where he 
will discuss all of these issues, beginning with our POW and MIA 
concerns.  
 
I believe normalization and increased contact between Americans and 
Vietnamese will advance the cause of freedom in Vietnam, just as it did 
in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. I strongly believe that 
engaging the Vietnamese on the broad economic front of economic reform 
and the broad front of democratic reform will help to honor the 
sacrifice of those who fought for freedom's sake in Vietnam.  
 
I am proud to be joined in this view by distinguished veterans of the 
Vietnam war. They served their country bravely. They are of different 
parties. A generation ago they had different judgments about the war 
which divided us so deeply. But today, they are of a single mind. They 
agree that the time has come for America to move forward on Vietnam. All 
Americans should be grateful especially that Senators John McCain, John 
Kerry, Bob Kerrey, and Chuck Robb; Representative Pete Peterson, along 
with other Vietnam veterans in the Congress, including Senator Harkin, 
Congressman Colby, and Congressman Gilchrist, who just left; and others 
who are out here in the audience have kept up their passionate interest 
in Vietnam, but were able to move beyond the haunting and painful past 
toward finding common ground for the future. Today, they and many other 
veterans support the normalization of relations, giving the opportunity 
to Vietnam to fully join the community of nations and being true to what 
they fought for so many years ago.  
 
Whatever we may think about the political decisions of the Vietnam era, 
the brave Americans who fought and died there had noble motives. They 
fought for the freedom and the independence of the Vietnamese people. 
Today, the Vietnamese are independent, and we believe this step will 
help to extend the reach of freedom in Vietnam and, in so doing, to 
enable these fine veterans of Vietnam to keep working for that freedom. 
 
This step will also help our own country to move forward on an issue 
that has separated Americans from one another for too long now. Let the 
future be our destination. We have so much work ahead of us. This moment 
offers us the opportunity to bind up our own wounds. They have resisted 
time for too long. We can now move on to common ground. Whatever divided 
us before, let us consign to the past. Let this moment, in the words of 
the Scripture, be a time to heal and a time to build.  
 
Thank you all, and God bless America. 
 


Fact Sheet: Progress on POW/MIA Cases Under The Clinton Administration 
Released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, 
DC, July 11, 1995. 
 
President Clinton's policy toward Vietnam has been driven by a single, 
overriding goal--achieving progress in accounting for service personnel 
reported missing in action or taken as prisoners of war. More resources 
have been devoted to this effort under this Administration than any 
other, and improvement in relations with Vietnam has depended solely on 
progress on this issue. 
 
President Clinton lifted the trade embargo with Vietnam in February 1994 
only after tangible progress was achieved on the recovery of remains, on 
resolving discrepancy cases, and on locating documents. In the months 
since, Vietnam has increased its efforts, providing unprecedented access 
to records, witnesses, and areas where Americans were lost. In addition, 
cooperation between the Governments of Vietnam, Laos, and the United 
States has yielded additional information. 
 
President Clinton has vowed to exhaust every possible avenue of 
investigation and will hold Vietnam to its pledge to help find the 
answers we seek. Normalized relations with Vietnam will allow the United 
States to press for further progress. 
 
Recovery and Repatriation Of Remains 
 
-- 167 remains repatriated to U.S.; 39 remains identified. (Since 
February 1994, 85 remains repatriated; 29 remains identified.) 
 
-- The Pentagon expects 40-50 additional remains from Vietnam to be 
identified in 1995. 
 
-- Sixteen joint field activities were conducted with the Vietnamese (9 
since February 1994). 
 
-- U.S. Government has received a new, comprehensive report covering 79 
of 81 pending "special remains" cases--cases in which the Vietnamese 
Government should have information because of photographs, grave 
registrations, and other items. 
 
Discrepancy Cases 
 
-- Fate has been determined for all but 55 discrepancy cases--down from 
135 cases in January 1993, and an original of 196. Since February 1994, 
18 more cases have been resolved. These are cases in which individuals 
survived but did not return alive and remain unaccounted for. 
 
Trilateral Investigations With Vietnam and Laos 
 
-- U.S., Vietnam, and Laos have conducted four field activities since 
the new agreement between Vietnam and Laos was reached in December 1994. 
 
-- Missions have uncovered witnesses, yielded new information, and 
prompted future excavations. 
 
Release of Documents 
 
-- This year, the Vietnamese have released several hundred pages of 
documents containing maps and records of army units compiled by the 
Ministries of Interior and National Defense. 
 
-- Joint U.S.-Vietnamese research teams have reviewed 27,000 archival 
items. 
 
-- Joint teams have conducted hundreds of interviews with Vietnamese 
witnesses, yielding new information on many cases. 
 


Fact Sheet:  POW/MIA Accounting 
Released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, 
DC, July 11, 1995. 
 
Remains 
 
Thus far in 1995, remains have been repatriated for 24 individuals and 
three sets of remains have been identified. Joint Task Force experts 
believe that another 40-50 remains from Vietnam will be identified this 
year (as well as a comparable number of remains from Laos and the rest 
of Southeast Asia). This compares favorably to 1994, when 26 
identifications were announced (the highest total since 1989). 
 
In addition to this progress from ongoing joint and unilateral 
activities, the May 1995 presidential delegation made significant 
progress with respect to an important group of cases referred to as the 
special remains cases. These are a group of 84 cases about which there 
was a greater probability that Vietnam either had or could obtain 
information. We therefore presented Vietnam with a list of these cases 
in August 1993 and asked them to provide us with a comprehensive report 
about their efforts to investigate these cases. 
 
During the May delegation, Vietnam provided the presidential delegation 
with a 187-page report on both unilateral and joint efforts to resolve 
these cases. In the judgment of the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, 
the report contains "significant new leads" on seven cases and will lead 
to new joint investigations that could potentially recover remains. 
 
To date, three of the 84 cases have been resolved, with additional cases 
undergoing identification at the Central Identification Laboratory in 
Hawaii. While the Joint Task Force expects that there will continue to 
be progress on resolving these cases, it will be a relatively prolonged 
process. 

Documents 
 
After claiming for more than a year that it did not have any of the 
documents on the list submitted by the National League of POW/MIA 
families, Vietnam provided to the recent presidential delegation some of 
the types of generic documents requested by the League (e.g., some 
provincial lists of U.S. casualties and registers of shootdowns from 10 
provinces in northern Vietnam). Vice Foreign Minister Le Mai sent a 
letter on June 5 to Ann Mills Griffiths, the Director of the League, 
indicating that some progress had been made to date in locating 
documents on the League's list, and that efforts to locate additional 
documents will continue. 
 
This commitment appears credible in light of two developments: the 
provision of two reports to the delegation detailing the activities of 
the two search teams established in the Ministries of Defense and 
Interior last year, and the provision of another group of documents to 
the Joint Task Force after the delegation's departure. Cumulatively, 
these developments suggest that Vietnam is making a bona fide effort to 
be forthcoming on documents, and that a process is in place which will 
yield more results in the future. 
 
Discrepancy Cases 
 
Discrepancy cases are those in which we have evidence that individuals 
could have survived. Of the original 196 cases, no determination of fate 
had been made for 135 cases as of January 1993. This was reduced to 55 
cases in June 1994. 
 
Many of the remains cases have been investigated five or more times. 
There has been some progress in identifying the remains of individuals 
whose fate has been determined but whose remains had not previously been 
accounted for. The Central Identification Laboratory currently has 
additional sets of remains associated with discrepancy cases which it 
believes to be identifiable over the course of the next six months. 
 
Completion of Pending Live Sighting Case 
 
Resolution of this pending case, which depends on the confirmation of 
the identification of one witness, may be imminent. After more than two 
years of investigation, significant investigatory work suggests that the 
live sighting report in question is invalid. More importantly, this 
prolonged case appears to be unique; 90 other live sighting cases have 
been conducted routinely since 1992, suggesting that investigation of 
this case was unusual in its duration. In contrast, for example, Vietnam 
granted approval expeditiously for a live sighting investigation based 
on the information provided by Billy Hendon to the Joint Task Force in 
Hanoi last month. The investigation was conducted on June 18, and proved 
to be negative. 
 


Fact Sheet: U.S.-Vietnam Economic Relationships 
Released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, 
DC, July 11, 1995. 
 
A decision to "normalize relations" does not automatically make Vietnam 
eligible for a broad range of economic programs and benefits. There are 
a series of statutory requirements that need to be either fulfilled or 
waived in order to make Vietnam eligible for most economic programs or 
benefits. The analysis below is not intended as a comprehensive 
analysis, but is rather designed to outline the statutory requirements 
for some of the economic benefits/programs under review. 
 
The Administration will begin an interagency review process, in 
consultation with the Congress, to determine Vietnam's eligibility for a 
number of economic programs and benefits. Until this process is 
complete, it will not be possible to specify dates or decisions for the 
initiation of such programs and benefits. 
 
Most-Favored-Nation Status (MFN) 
 
In order to receive MFN, a bilateral commercial agreement with Vietnam 
which meets the requirements set forth in the Trade Act must be 
negotiated and approved by both houses of Congress. In addition, 
pursuant to Jackson-Vanik, the President must either issue a finding 
that Vietnam allows free and open emigration, or issue an annual waiver 
of that requirement if he determines that such waiver will substantially 
promote the objectives of the law and if he has received assurances that 
Vietnamese emigration practices will henceforth lead substantially to 
the achievement of those objectives. 
 
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)  
 
Section 502(b)(7) of the Trade Act conditions eligibility for 
designation as a "beneficiary developing country" for purposes of the 
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) upon a number of factors, 
including a country's respect for "internationally recognized workers 
rights," as that term is defined in Section 502(a)(4) of that Act. Under 
this section, "internationally recognized workers rights" include (i) 
the right of association, (ii) the right to organize and bargain 
collectively, (iii) a prohibition on the use of any form of forced or 
compulsory labor, (iv) a minimum age for the employment of children, and 
(v) acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours 
of work, and occupational safety and health. 
 
Export-Import Bank 
 
General human rights restrictions ordinarily do not apply to EXIM loans 
or guarantees. A country's human rights performance, by definition a 
"non-financial or non-commercial consideration," may be a basis for 
denying EXIM loans or guarantees only if the President determines that a 
denial for such reasons would be in the national interest "where such 
action would clearly and importantly advance United States policy in 
such areas as .human rights." 
 
EXIM is prohibited from providing loans or other credits to "Marxists-
Leninist" countries, and Vietnam is deemed to be Marxist-Leninist for 
purposes of the provision. The President may determine that provision of 
financing is in the "national interest" and waive the prohibition on a 
case-by-case or country basis (12 U.S.C. Section 635(b)(1)(H)(iv)(2)). 
EXIM programs are also subject to Jackson-Vanik. 
 
Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) 
 
Under Section 231A of the Foreign Assistance Act, the Overseas Private 
Investment Corporation (OPIC) may insure, reinsure, guarantee, or 
finance a project only if the host government is taking steps to adopt 
and implement laws to extend internationally recognized worker rights as 
defined in Section 502(a)(4) of the Trade Act of 1974 (see discussion of 
GSP above). The President may waive this requirement if he determines it 
is in the national economic interest to do so. OPIC programs are subject 
to Jackson-Vanik. 
 
Two additional provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act apply to OPIC: 
Sec. 115, which prohibits assistance to countries which engage in a 
consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized 
human rights, and Sec. 620(f), which prohibits assistance to Communist 
countries (subject to a national interest waiver). 
 


Fact Sheet: Diplomatic Relations With Vietnam 
Released by the White House, Office of the Press Secretary, Washington, 
DC, July 11, 1995. 
 
Current State of U.S.-Vietnam Relations 
 
-- In May 1994, the U.S. and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) 
formally entered consular relations within the framework of the 1963 
Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to which both states are party. 
Subsequently, the U.S. and the S.R.V. opened "liaison offices" in Hanoi 
and Washington, DC, respectively, following resolution of outstanding 
property issues. 
 
-- The U.S. and the S.R.V. routinely conduct a wide range of mutually 
beneficial activities of a quasi-diplomatic nature; e.g., POW/MIA 
affairs, negotiations concerning the settlement of S.R.V. public and 
private debt to the U.S. and U.S. nationals, human rights discussions, 
and protection of arrested U.S. nationals in Vietnam. 
 
The Effect of the President's Decisions 
 
-- The President's decision to establish diplomatic relations with the 
S.R.V. under the framework of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic 
Relations, to which both states are party, is simply an extension of the 
May 1994 decision to enter consular relations. 
 
-- The opening of formal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the 
S.R.V. is principally of symbolic importance; it will have little 
immediate impact upon the manner in which the U.S. and Vietnam conduct 
their affairs. Diplomatic relations will, however, facilitate the 
ability of the two states to discuss and negotiate outstanding issues at 
an appropriate level. 
 
Procedure for Establishing Diplomatic Relations 
 
-- As a matter of international law, the establishment of diplomatic 
relations requires nothing more than the mutual consent of the two 
states. In recent practice, the U.S. has done this through the exchange 
of brief letters at the political level--typically, a letter from the 
President or Secretary of State to his foreign counterpart. 
 
-- Although the establishment of diplomatic relations does not require 
the exchange of ambassadors or the opening of permanent diplomatic 
missions, this is the traditional pattern, and we would expect to do so 
in this instance. 
 
-- While no decision has been made, we would expect to continue to use 
the building in which we recently opened the liaison office--as well as 
other properties--for the embassy. 
 
-- We will shortly begin to review lists of possible candidates as U.S. 
Ambassador to Vietnam. 
 
Domestic Legal Consequences 
 
-- The domestic legal consequences of the establishment of formal 
diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Vietnam will be largely 
technical and modest. 
 
-- Although some U.S. laws are expressly tied to the existence or not of 
diplomatic relations, such instances are relatively few and are not of 
great significance. For example, 22 U.S.C. 2370(t) precludes the U.S. 
from furnishing foreign assistance to states with which the U.S. has 
severed diplomatic relations; S.R.V. diplomats will benefit from greater 
privileges and immunities in the U.S.   (###) 
 
 
ARTICLE 2: 
 
A New Phase in U.S.-Vietnam Relations 
Winston Lord, Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs 
Statement before the House International Relations Committee, 
Washington, DC, July 12, 1995 
 
Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the committee: I welcome the 
opportunity to appear before you to discuss Vietnam. As you know, 
President Clinton announced yesterday his decision to establish full 
diplomatic relations with Vietnam. We believe this bold step can further 
the healing process for our nation and move us toward reconciliation 
among ourselves and with a former enemy. As President Clinton said 
yesterday, "This step will. . .help our own country to move forward on 
an issue that has separated Americans from one another for too long now. 
This moment offers us the opportunity to bind up our own wounds. We can 
now move on to common ground. Whatever divided us before, let us consign 
to the past. Let this moment, in the words of the Scripture, be a time 
to heal and a time to build." 
 
The President made his decision to move forward with Vietnam on the 
unanimous recommendation of all his top advisers as well as our 
personnel overseas and at home engaged in the search for information on 
MIAs. It was also supported by many veterans and former POWs, including 
some in Congress who stood with the President yesterday. 
 
I want to emphasize that the President's decision to establish 
diplomatic relations with Vietnam, as well as the other incremental 
steps taken over the years, was based on effective Vietnamese 
cooperation that has led to progress on POW/MIA accounting. In reaching 
his decision, the President considered the Department of Defense's 
assessment of the documents recently turned over to a presidential 
delegation visiting Hanoi, high-level Vietnamese pledges of continued 
cooperation, and the record of other Vietnamese actions in POW/MIA 
accounting. On this basis, the President determined further tangible 
progress could best be promoted through closer bilateral ties. 
 
Mr. Chairman, since 1993, I have made four trips to Vietnam, three as 
part of presidential delegations. During these visits, I have had the 
privilege of viewing firsthand the painstaking work of those devoted and 
loyal Americans who are working to resolve the outstanding POW/MIA 
cases. Some of these endure the heat and humidity of Southeast Asia's 
jungles and the ruggedness of the region's mountainous terrain. Others 
work diligently in laboratories in Hawaii to identify individuals from 
tiny bone fragments and scraps of personal effects. Still others seek 
answers in Pentagon offices, sifting shreds of information from 
documents and witness reports. 
 
I could regale you with many stories of the hardships these Americans 
face in their efforts to account for our missing personnel, but I will 
share only two today. The excavation and recovery of remains from one 
case required the establishment of a base camp on the side of a 
mountainous rock formation with a slope of from 30 to 60 degrees. The 12 
U.S. and 15 Vietnamese recovery team members had to climb more than an 
hour from the base camp, and the terrain was so steep that at points it 
required scaling rock faces hand over hand. Over the next 21/2 weeks, 
the team climbed an hour each day from the base camp to the site, 
excavated at the site, and then climbed for an hour back to the base 
camp. 
 
The immediate area of the crash was a rocky slope 40-45 degrees in 
grade. Working from the lowest elevation to the heights at the site, the 
team worked over the next 16 days removing surface rock, scraping and 
sifting through screens the associated soil, aircraft debris, and human 
remains. The excavation yielded 187 bone fragments, 16 human teeth, 
personal effects, life support equipment, and other wreckage. 
 
In another case, the recovery teams had to excavate a fishpond. To 
prevent the collapse of the adjoining rice paddies into the pond as it 
was drained, the team had to dam up the edges with woven-bamboo matting 
held in place by stakes. For six weeks the team sifted and washed the 
mud and muck from the pond, eventually recovering bone fragments, teeth 
with restorations, and two gold wedding bands. 
 
These vignettes illustrate not only the hard work of our dedicated 
Americans, but also the level of cooperation we receive from the 
Vietnamese. Vietnamese teams work jointly with American teams during 
Joint Field Activities--JFAs. Vietnamese Government officials at the 
national, provincial, and local levels have permitted us access to all 
parts of their country in our search for missing personnel. Vietnamese 
laborers assist our field teams in their excavations. All of these men 
and women, American and Vietnamese, deserve our thanks for their 
dedication and hard work. 
 
Also deserving of the nation's thanks is Gen. John Vessey, who has 
worked tirelessly to resolve the issue of missing Americans. His efforts 
have benefited many families and our nation as a whole. 
 
This Administration has been and remains committed to achieving the 
fullest possible accounting for our prisoners of war and missing in 
action in Southeast Asia. This nation has pursued the most elaborate, 
extensive efforts to account for our missing in action from any war. The 
President reiterated our commitment yesterday. To achieve this 
objective, we have, over the years, sought ways to encourage further 
progress in the accounting process. The President's decision to lift the 
trade embargo and establish liaison offices with Vietnam in February 
1994 was based on his judgment that these actions were the best way to 
promote further progress. The results since then have vindicated these 
decisions. We expect the establishment of diplomatic relations, the 
appropriate "next step," to lead to still further progress on this 
highest of national priorities. 
 
At the time the embargo was lifted, the President stated that additional 
steps in U.S.-Vietnam bilateral relations would depend on tangible 
progress toward the fullest possible accounting. He identified four key 
areas where progress was needed to advance the normalization process: 
 
-- recovery and repatriation of remains;  
-- resolution of the remaining discrepancy cases; 
-- trilateral investigations with Vietnam and Laos; and  
-- provision of documents. 
 
We have made significant progress in each of these areas since the 
beginning of this Administration. We have seen improved Vietnamese 
cooperation on resolving POW/MIA cases, leading to the recovery of 
remains which have been or are in the process of being identified, and 
to provision of information which has been helpful in determining the 
fate of some missing individuals. The Vietnamese have carried out 
collaborative field investigations and excavations; permitted travel 
throughout their country, including sensitive military areas; and 
granted access to prisons, graves, and archives. 
 
In the past two years, the Vietnamese have stepped up their unilateral 
efforts to advance the POW/MIA accounting process by locating remains, 
documents, and witnesses. Over 180 pages of documents, many with 
valuable leads, were turned over to the Presidential delegation that 
visited Hanoi in May. Additional documents have been passed since that 
visit. The Vietnamese have formed special research teams for the purpose 
of finding documents which may contain relevant information on our 
missing personnel. They are working with us and the Government of Laos 
to find witnesses to cases in Laos. In addition, the Vietnamese 
Government has granted amnesty to all Vietnamese citizens holding 
remains to encourage them to turn these over. 
 
With the establishment of diplomatic relations, our ability to further 
POW/MIA accounting is strengthened. Our liaison office in Hanoi will be 
upgraded to an embassy. Early next month, Secretary Christopher will 
visit Vietnam to press for further progress on MIA accounting. He will 
also raise other issues of concern that we can address more effectively 
with diplomatic relations--human rights, the stemming of drug traffic, 
trade and investment opportunities, and regional security. Soon our 
Ambassador will be on the spot to represent directly and forcefully the 
interests and concerns of the President and the American people. 
 
Let me close with the words of President Clinton yesterday:  
". . .normalization of our relations with Vietnam is not the end of our 
effort. From the early days of this Administration, I have said to the 
families and veterans groups what I say again here: We will keep working 
until we get all the answers we can." Be assured our commitment to this 
issue is firm. As we enter this new phase in our relationship with 
Vietnam, the POW/MIA issue will remain our central focus. We will 
continue to require Vietnamese cooperation at the highest levels until  
our objective of the fullest possible accounting is achieved. (###) 
 
 

ARTICLE 3: 
 
Background Notes: Vietnam 
 
Official Name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam 
 
PROFILE 
 
Geography 
Area: 329,560 sq. km. (127,243 sq. mi.); larger than Virginia, North 
Carolina, and South Carolina combined.   
Cities (1994): Capital--Hanoi (3.5 million): Other cities--Ho Chi Minh 
City (formerly Saigon--5 million); Haiphong (1.5 million).   
Terrain: Varies from mountainous to coastal delta.   
Climate: Tropical monsoon.  
 
People  
Nationality: Noun and adjective--Vietnamese (sing. and pl.).   
Population (1994): 74 million.   
Annual growth rate (1994): 2.4%. Ethnic groups: Vietnamese (85%-90%), 
Chinese, Muong, Thai, Khmer, Cham, mountain groups.   
Religions: Buddhism, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian (predominantly Roman 
Catholic, some Protestant), animism, Islam.   
Languages: Vietnamese, English (increasingly favored as a second 
language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer, and mountain area languages.  
Literacy: 88%.   
Health: Infant mortality rate--36/1000. Life expectancy--63 yrs.  male, 
67 yrs. female.   
 
Government  
Type: Communist people's republic.  Independence: Sept. 2, 1945.   
Reunification: July 2, 1976. New constitution: 1992. Branches: 
Executive--president (head of state and chair of National Defense and 
Security Council) and prime minister (heads cabinet of ministries and 
commissions); "People's Committees" governing in local jurisdictions.  
Legislative--National Assembly; locally, People's Councils. Judicial--
Supreme People's Court.  Administrative subdivisions: 50 provinces, 3 
municipalities under central government control, one special zone; urban 
quarters and rural districts; urban precincts and rural communes.  
Political party: Vietnamese Communist Party, formerly (1951-76) Vietnam 
Worker's Party, itself the successor of the Indochinese Communist Party 
founded in 1930.   
Suffrage: Universal at 18.  
 
Economy 
GDP (1994): $15.4 billion.  
Real growth rate (1994): 8.8%.  
Per capita income (1994): $220.  
Natural resources: Phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, 
offshore oil deposits, forests, rubber, marine products.  
Agriculture (36% of GDP--38% of export earnings): Products--rice, 
rubber, fruit, vegetables, corn, manioc, sugarcane, coffee, fish.  
Industry (26% of GDP--34% of total exports): Food processing, textiles, 
cement, chemical fertilizers, steel, electric power.  
Trade (1994): Exports--$3.6 billion: crude oil, textiles, marine 
products, rice (third-largest exporter in world), and coal. Major 
partners--Japan (22%), Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and China. 
Imports--$4.5 billion: petroleum, steel products, transport-related 
equipment, chemicals, fertilizers, medicines, raw cotton. Major 
partners--Singapore (28%), Japan, South Korea, France, and Taiwan. 
Exports to U.S.--$50 million; Imports from U.S.--$172 million. 
 

U.S.-VIETNAM RELATIONS 
 
President Clinton announced the normalization of diplomatic relations 
with Vietnam on July 11, 1995. This followed the establishment of 
Liaison Offices in Hanoi and Washington, DC, in January 1995 and the 
lifting of the U.S. trade embargo on Vietnam in February 1994. American 
companies have entered the Vietnamese market, and the U.S. is now the 
eighth-largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with more than $530 million 
committed in 34 projects as of June 1995. 
 
The U.S. maintains an active dialogue with Vietnam on issues concerning 
Americans missing from the war in Vietnam. It has been U.S. policy since 
the early 1980s that normalization of relations with Vietnam be based on 
withdrawal of the Vietnamese military from Cambodia as part of a 
comprehensive political settlement and continued cooperation on the 
prisoner of war/missing in action (POW/MIA) issue and other humanitarian 
concerns. 
 
In the 1980s, the United States and Vietnam developed and sustained an 
active relationship on a range of humanitarian issues, particularly on 
achieving the fullest accounting possible of Americans missing and 
unaccounted for in Indochina. The two countries agreed to handle these 
issues as a separate, humanitarian agenda, without reference to 
political differences. 
 
In June 1993, progress in repatriating the remains of missing Americans 
increased, and an office was established in Ho Chi Minh City to 
facilitate better accounting operations in the south. A month later, the 
U.S. dropped its objection to bilateral and multilateral lending to 
Vietnam. In 1994, based on significant cooperation on the part of the 
Vietnamese on POW/MIA issues, President Clinton removed the American 
trade embargo on Vietnam. In January 1995, the two countries opened 
liaison offices in their respective capitals, and on July 11, President 
Clinton announced the establishment of diplomatic relations with 
Vietnam. Since the lifting of the embargo, cooperation with Vietnam on 
MIA/POW issues has increased: 167 sets of remains believed to be 
American have been returned to the U.S., and 42 Americans have been 
identified. Investigators have made a determination of the fate of 80 of 
135 discrepancy cases--where individuals could have survived but did not 
return alive and remain unaccounted for--leaving only 55 individuals 
whose fates are unresolved. Achieving the fullest possible accounting 
for those who did not return from the war remains the administration's 
highest priority in its relations with Vietnam.  
 
Principal U.S. Officials 
 
Chief of Liaison Office--James Hall 
Deputy Chief of Liaison Office--Christopher Runckel 
 
The U.S. Liaison Office in Hanoi is at 7 Lang Hu Road; mailing address: 
USLO Hanoi, PSC 461, Box 400, FPO AP 96521-0002; tel. 844-431-500 
through 507; FAX 844-350-484.  
 

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS 
 
A new constitution approved in April 1992 introduced a major 
restructuring of the government while reaffirming the role of the 
Communist Party of Vietnam as the leading force of state and society. It 
states that the party should operate within the framework of the 
constitution and the laws of the country and that it should no longer be 
allowed to direct the day-to-day operation of the government. The 
National Assembly, which was granted an increase in its power and 
independence, is designated as the highest representative body of the 
people and the only body with legislative powers. Members are elected 
every five years.   
 
The constitution promulgates an expansion of the body's oversight powers 
as well as an extension of choice in the balloting process for elections 
to the National Assembly, which, for the first time, permitted non-party 
members to be elected in 1992. The collective Council of State, which 
had served as the parliament's standing committee and whose chairman 
acted as ceremonial head of state, was abolished. It was replaced by an 
office of the president with real administrative powers, authority over 
the armed forces, and the power to recommend the dismissal of government 
officials (subject to the approval of the National Assembly). The 
revised constitution also replaced the cumbersome Council of Ministers 
with a cabinet headed by the prime minister. 
 
In Vietnam, governmental policy is largely the prerogative of the 
communist leadership. Policy is set by the Politburo and carried out by 
the Secretariat, the governmental organ which oversees day-to-day policy 
implementation. The most important political institution in Vietnam is 
the Communist Party of Vietnam (formerly the Vietnam Worker's Party), 
headed by Secretary General Do Muoi. The large and unwieldy Party 
Congress, which is supposed to gather every five years, last met in 
1991. The Central Committee membership, which is elected from this 
group, represents less than 10% of the National Congress and meets about 
twice a year. The party's influence appears to be diminishing throughout 
Vietnam as the rate of new membership has decreased since the 1980s. 
 
Many major policy directives are issued as Central Committee resolutions 
but are formulated by the all-powerful Politburo; many others emanate 
directly from the Politburo. The Secretariat oversees the implementation 
of these decisions. Overlapping party and state positions continue to be 
held even though there has been some effort to discourage both that 
practice and direct party interference in government affairs. All but 
six out of 17 party Politburo members concurrently hold high positions 
in the government (1994) and 92% of the deputies in the National 
Assembly are party members. This also is the case at lower levels, where 
provincial, district, and village party officials dominate the 
administrative councils. 
 
The most important powers within the Vietnamese Government--as opposed 
to the communist party--are the executive agencies: the offices of the 
president and the prime minister (most of whose members also are on the 
Communist Party Central Committee). The Vietnamese President, Le Duc 
Anh, functions as head of state but also serves as commander of the 
armed forces and chairman of the Council on National Defense and 
Security. 
 
According to the constitution, these bodies, as well as the heads of 
ministries and commissions, are elected by the National Assembly. Prime 
Minister  Vo Van Kiet heads a cabinet composed of three deputy prime 
ministers as well as the directors of the country's 31 ministries and 
commissions. Three members of the prime minister's cabinet are 
concurrently members of the Politburo. 
 
The chairman of the National Assembly is Nong Duc Manh, the first member 
of an ethnic minority to hold this post and the first to simultaneously 
command a position in the Politburo. The assembly meets twice yearly and 
theoretically exercises wide lawmaking and appointive authority. In the 
past, it has simply given formal approval to proposals from the 
executive organs. The constitutional amendments of 1992 strengthened the 
legislative and oversight authority of the National Assembly, granting 
it authority over defense and security policy, as well as financial 
matters. The assembly's standing committee and permanent committees also 
were granted new powers. Local legislative bodies called People's 
Councils are elected at provincial, district, and village levels. The 
councils choose administrative committees that handle routine business 
on the local level and are ultimately responsible to the office of the 
prime minister. Their function is more executive than legislative. 
 
Principal Officials 
 
Secretary General of the Communist Party--Do Muoi 
Prime Minister--Vo Van Kiet 
President--Le Duc Anh 
National Assembly Chairman--Nong Duc Manh 
 
The Liaison Office of the Socialist Re-public of Vietnam is at 1233 20th 
St., NW, Suite 501, Washington, DC 20036; 202-861-0737; FAX 202-861-
0917.  (###) 
 
[END OF DISPATCH VOL. 6, NO. 28]

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